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Hernar is a small group of islands northwest of Seløy, an old outlying harbour on the western route. This is where ships were lying in wait for favourable weather before heading out west, and this is where the ships from the western Isles came in. Hjeltefjorden is proof of this. The fjord is named after the people from Hjaltland (Shetland).
On the farm Hjelmo, furthest north in Øygarden, in the innermost part of a long bay, there is a fine boatshed collection with a church beside it. From times immemorial this has probably been the fish-shed location for these farm units and this was also the landing place for the churchgoers.
When the workers came to Kollsnes to start on the work with the landing for the gas terminal from the Troll field in the North Sea, they found the ruins of an old farm mill at Kvernapollen.
The farms in Modalen are situated on old, fertile sediment beds from the river or the sea – between Mofjorden and Steinslandvatnet. As far back as the Middle Ages Mo has been a church location for the valley and the farms above.
In one of the frame-built haysheds at Nottveit, at holding No. 3, we discover that several of the staves have a medieval look, with large dimensions and carefully rounded edges. According to tradition, it was the farms Nottveit and Mostraumen that supplied the timber for the stave church at Mo, and it is not unlikely that these farms received the old timber in return when the new church was erected there in 1593.
Tthe Otterstad farms lie in the innermost part of Mofjorden, on the northwest side of the river. The row of stave-built boatsheds that belong to the farm were probably constructed a little after the middle of the 1800s. Both here and on the Mo side, the boatsheds were important storage places at the seashore; wood and other farm products intended for the town; corn and merchandise in return.
The large mountain area between Modalen, the Voss communities and Sogn is one of the finest mountain pasture areas in West Norway. In older times this area was called Steinslandsheimen, in our times it has acquired the name Stølsheimen. Power development and protection interests have been opposed here. The core area of Stølsheimen has now been protected as a landscape protection area, while some of the oldest mountain farms have been flooded. A register in the 1970s comprised almost 40 mountain farm settlements in the central area of Stølsheimen, belonging to Modalen, Høyanger and Vik municipalities.
Herdlevær lies on one of the small islands west of Hjeltefjorden, facing the North Sea and the big ocean. Today you may arrive there by car. The numerous islands are linked together by elegant bridge spans made of concrete. Fifty years ago it was half a day’s journey to get to Herdlevær from the mainland by your own rowing boat or ferry.